Friday July 31st, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose that have something to do with: once in a blue moon.

Today was my fifth wedding anniversary. Really, really doesn't feel like that long. Kat and I celebrated by picking blackberries together this morning (we're also planning on properly celebrating it by going out for dinner on Sunday night).

We didn't get very many pints, but we did just pick on Wednesday. They're definitely on the decline, but that's all right - we've got lots of nectarines and apples for tomorrow's market, along with peaches, tomatoes, cabbages, onions, garlic, and cucumbers.

I'm taking Rebecca with me again this week, so Kat and Max will be spending the morning with Sue around Osoyoos (I suspect a trip to the beach will be involved at some point). Then she'll begin the trek home to Calgary after lunch.

It's been nice having her here for a bit of a longer visit than usual, but unsurprisingly it still feels too short.


"Don't you think that this is getting a little dangerous?"

"Oh come on, you know we'll never get caught!"

"I don't know, with technology these days improving by leaps and bounds it seems like a good time for an objective discussion of-"

"It doesn't matter how powerful their telescopes are - humans will never look closely enough to realize that their precious moon turns blue whenever us smurfs gather for our picnic party on the moon."

Thursday July 30th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something that is: custom-made.

My sister and I spent the morning weeding a row of strawberries, around the pepper plants, and a mixed row of onions and leeks. Then we came back to the house, gathered what we needed, and headed for the beach for a picnic lunch with Kat and Max.

Everybody had a nap in the afternoon, which was much needed for all of us - especially Max, who is fighting off a cold at the moment. After dinner Kat went out to do some work in the tomatoes and Sue and I hung out with Max on the deck. There was a lot of soccer played, as well as some good times with his toy trucks.

Tomorrow we're back to harvesting for the farmers market, this time for our usual spot on Saturday morning in Penticton.


"It's perfect."

"I should hope so."

"And why is that?"

"I had it custom-made for you."

"Don't be ridiculous."

"Would you like to see the receipts for all the parts and labour?"

"You know I don't like those annoying bits of paper."

"How else should I prove it then?"

"I don't think you can."

"What, exactly, is the issue?"

"I simply will not believe that you had a spoon custom-made for me to eat ice cream with."

Wednesday July 29th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something that has been: surpassed.

The market this evening went better than I was expecting it to - it was certainly more well attended than I would have predicted based on previous visits to Osoyoos markets. We sold 19 out of the 21 pints of blackberries we brought, most of our carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and some onions, bags of greens, cabbage, and bags of broccoli.

We didn't sell much fruit, but that was not surprising. With all the fruit stands around town selling fruit at well below any price we'd be comfortable pricing our stuff at, it's tough going. But that's fine - all of it should keep until Saturday's market in Penticton.

My sister arrived about half an hour before I had to pack up the truck for the market, so of course she helped with that. And then came with me to the market. And then hung out with Max when Kat arrived with him shortly after opening.

She's in her tent now, I assume sleeping soundly now that I've stopped making her work. For the time being.


We started out
As master and student,
Talking about
The past and the present...
But never the future.

Why was that?
Was some part of me afraid?
That I would fumble you,
An obviously live grenade?
And then I'd be gone.

But you would walk on,
Leaving me far behind -
Bloody and forgotten,
Just as you'd designed.
From the start?

It matters not.
All that I have amassed,
One way or another,
Will one day be surpassed
By the next master.

Tuesday July 28th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the buzz.

Spent this morning picking blackberries for the bakery, which I delivered (along with ten pounds each of nectarines and peaches) after lunch. Just as I was leaving to do that the cooler repairman arrived (yup, we swallowed that rather pricey bullet) so that should be up and running again tomorrow morning.

Which is good, because tomorrow evening we'll be attending our first Osoyoos farmers market since we started doing this six years ago.

They added a mid-week night market (in addition to their Saturday morning market which runs at the same time as the much busier and more profitable Penticton market) last year. We'd tried to get in before but had to get insurance figured out, as they require each vendor to have their own coverage rather than including it in the membership price like Penticton does. And that didn't get in place until it was too late to bother with.

But we're ready and raring to go for tomorrow evening. We'll pick the rest of the blackberries in the morning, along with whatever veggies we decide to bring along and some peaches, nectarines, and apples from Kat's parents. We're not bringing nearly as much as what we'd do for Penticton, but I'm curious to see how exactly it ends up going.

Also: my sister Sue is arriving midday, which is exciting. And I'll probably drag her along to help out at the market because I'm such a good brother.


Are you lost, soldier?
Follow the buzzing; it will
lead you to glory.

*     *     *

A buzz is going
around this fake, plastic town:
you're the next big star!

Monday July 27th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the standoff.

Since they've been on my mind a lot lately, I figured it was time to revisit The Gang - except this time, the story is moving forward.

I did a whole lot of weeding today. I finished the second row of strawberries and a row of onions this morning, then went out again after dinner to clean up around most of our broccoli plants (which are still putting out healthy looking side shoots) and some of our leeks.

My wrists and fingers and forearms ache right now. So I'll get right to the prompt.


"We can't let them look inside the van." Crystal didn't shift in her seat beside me but somehow she still seemed to be closer to the gun taped to the underside of her cushion.

"I'm sure she's not going to offer them an invitation to join us in here," Tammy said when I remained silent. There were only two more vehicles ahead of us in the line at the roadblock by then - a pickup truck with an extended cab and a four door sedan filled to bursting with a family of three and their dog.

"If they come in, we're done." Crystal glanced back at Tammy before returning her attention to me. "Done, okay?"

"What do you want her to do? Run over some innocent cops just to be on the safe side? The whole country would be after us then, and they would be shooting first and asking questions never!"

"Keep your voice down!" Crystal hissed. "We don't have to run anybody over. There's space right there to get through." She tilted her chin toward a gap between two of the cruisers blocking the highway. "We'd only need that one guy to jump out of the way."

"And if he doesn't?" Tammy sounded like she was about to break a tooth the way she was working that piece of gum in her mouth. "Or if he's too slow? Or if he just starts shooting instead?"

I kept quiet, considering our options. There seemed to be a definite lack of good ones. Everything appeared to lead either to jail or the morgue, sooner or later.

"We run the roadblock, we stand a chance." There was only the sedan between us and the front of the line. "We take our chances with these guys and we're sitting ducks."

"We talk to them, we get through without drawing their suspicion, we're free and clear to the border." Tammy was trying to remain calm and failing miserably. "We blast through here and they'll have a description of the van, probably even our plate number, and, by this point, I'm sure they've had a good look at each of us!"

"Voice. Down. Tammy."

I squeezed the wheel and shifted my gaze toward the gap, then back to the waiting officers. One was talking to the driver, the other inspecting the trunk. Which was so full that items were spilling out onto the road.

"We can't run."

The officer at the back was calling for his partner's help stuffing things back in now. A grocery bag full of chips and pop upended and the two of them bent down to chase after the runaway bottles.

"We have to."

I hit the gas.

Sunday July 26th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something about: the vampire.

I'm sitting here having great difficulty remembering anything of interest that happened today. Sounds like a good day off to me.


I'm not sure why, exactly, I had agreed to house sit for the Millers. It's not like their home was in some wild, exotic locale - they lived two streets over from me. And it wasn't even two blocks closer to work! It actually took me nearly five minutes longer to get to the office (thanks to that stupid slow light at 34th and Brookside).

We weren't the greatest of friends either. In fact, I'd probably have described them as acquaintances. That's why I was so surprised when they asked me to watch their place.

I should have taken it as a sign. Should have understood that I was not the first person they had asked. Hell, now that I've got some perspective on the matter, I doubt I was among the first ten to be offered the job.

But there I was, spending most of my long weekend at their house. Trying not to break anything too obvious. Trying to keep their plants alive. Laying in bed, in the darkest hours of the night, trying to get some sleep while listening to the strange noises that belong to all homes that are not your own.

And wondering why their only instruction to me was a note that read: Stay out of the basement.

I couldn't stop myself from thinking about it. What embarrassing secrets lay hidden below ground, at the bottom of those rickety wooden stairs? What, exactly, was down there?

And all that while I should have been asking who was down there...

Saturday July 25th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something or someone that is: soaked.

Packed up the truck this morning in a light drizzle. It rained steadily all the way up to Penticton, aside from two brief periods of absolute downpour. Setup the stall in a light drizzle, then the rain stopped for a while. And then came back. And then stopped for quite a while. And then downpoured around noon. And then it stopped and the sun came out for the end of the market.

On the way home there were two downpours (one on either side of Oliver), otherwise no rain whatsoever. It was just one of those days where the rain couldn't fully commit to falling all the time, but it sure as hell wasn't about to stop entirely either.

Thankfully the crowds were pretty much undeterred by the weather. We sold all of our peaches, apples, plums, zucchini, blackberries, all but one of our onions, cucumbers, and bags of green beans, and all but two of our pints of cherry tomatoes. Oh and we still had about half a crate of nectarines on the ride home. Sold some garlic and greeting cards as well.

Needless to say, that was an exponentially better market than I was expecting on the drive up this morning.

As for my poem below... it's inspired by what happened at the bakery stall next to ours during pack up. Pretty much all the tents at the market collect rain at their edges when it rains like that and it's always a challenge finding time and space to shake it off before too much collects and it runs over the side all on its own.


Mama pushing toddler in a stroller,
He gets an unexpected downpour.
Screams, tears, utterly inconsolable...
Until a free cookie brings peace, restored.

Friday July 24th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about something that is: early.

Spent the morning picking blackberries, which we were helped with for an entertaining hour or so by Rebecca and her parents (they're visiting from Vancouver for a couple days). Grand total: 57 pints.

Meanwhile Kat's parents got us 14 crates of nectarines, 4 crates of peaches, and 5 crates of apples. This evening I collected some cucumbers, zucchini, onions, green beans, and cherry tomatoes. So we're all set for a very good market.

Now we just need the rain they're forecasting to hold off or fall elsewhere.

Our guests departed late this morning, carrying as much fruit, berries, and veggies as they could squeeze into their vehicle. Well, what they thought they could fit in there. I was pretty sure we could have found space for a little more.


He sits in a chair that he brought with him. He snacks on food from the backpack in his lap. He sips from his water bottle, but not too often - he wouldn't want to have to go to the bathroom, after all.

That would mean he'd lose his spot at the head of the line to get into the pub.

Thursday July 23rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write something which takes place in: the library.

I ended up doing some tilling of the paths in the garden this morning, though not as much as I'd hoped since the sprinklers were recently on in both the strawberry patch and in our vegetable patch. It was a good start at least.

This afternoon I ran a few errands in town while literally everyone else here was napping. Then we had a big dinner of chicken, corn on the cob, cut fresh veggies, and green beans. Our guests then did up some (gluten-free) smores on their camp stove, which went over... quite well with Max.

I'm not sure I've ever seen him that hyper that late in the day.

We took it easy for the rest of the evening, with Kat taking the night off from garden work. It was quite nice.

Sadly our guests will be departing tomorrow morning but it's been a great visit. And my sister Sue is coming to see us next week, so we won't be without guests for too long.


The silence was oppressive. I could hear the kid on the other side of the room (and it was a very, very big room) turn each page of his book. It was like listening to two pieces of sandpaper rubbing together at regular intervals.

And the breathing.

It was like everyone in the library had their own unique pattern and noises. The nose whistler? Searching the stacks on the east wall. The nervous gulper? Still trying to work up the courage to talk to the girl in the grey hoodie (who clears her throat somewhere between five and fifty times each minute).

I just couldn't take it anymore, okay? I tried. I wanted to ignore it all and just study for my exam. But every single noise was like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Yes, it was that bad. Do you understand now?

Do you understand why I started screaming?

Wednesday July 22nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the minstrel.

I managed to get a bit of weed eating done in the sprinkler rows this morning before having to shift my attention to the house. A little while later I had the truck loaded up with junk and was heading for the dump for a much needed cleanup of the yard and basement.

This afternoon a good friend from high school arrived with her family. Her, her husband, and their two kids will be camping in our yard for the next two nights before making their way back to Victoria.

I'm not sure how much work I'll be getting done tomorrow, but I feel like I should get at least a little bit of time in the garden while they're here.


"Here are the words to the song for you to sing to the king," the woman in the black hood says as she slides a wrinkled piece of paper across the table. I do not pick it up, for my hands are bound behind my back. "Please don't change a word, don't you dare change a thing."

I look down and begin to read. It does not take long for the words to disappear and for my swift death to take their place. I look up.

"Consider yourself a bringer of truth, dear singer." She tilts her head to the side but her features remain hidden in shadows. "Just make sure your weapons strike true, word slinger."

Responses tumble through my mind but none spill out from between my lips. I can thank the gag for that.

"For if they do not you just might lose a finger or two in the middle of the night." She produces a dagger from the folds of her cloak and places it gently on the table between us. "Wouldn't that be quite the sight? A minstrel who cannot play his instruments quite right?"

I could still play. Maybe not the way I did today, but I'd find a way to continue my work. Somehow or another. I would have to.

"Or perhaps, if I do not hear my pretty words sung by this fine young man, I shall just go straight for his tongue."

Tuesday July 21st, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the labourer.

We had a fairly small harvest for local orders this morning, but we still had to pick all the blackberries (any leftover after local orders goes to the bakery and this week that ended up being 17 pounds worth). But we got it all done before lunch, so that was good.

This afternoon I delivered to the bakery, spent some time keeping an eye on Max playing with his cousin, and then put together the orders for pickup. Once everything was collected and paid for we went back to Kat's parents house for dinner (hamburgers, salad, and corn on the cob) and more playtime for the cousins.

Now I am sleepy as hell and ready for bed. Not ready for couch. Do you hear me, body? Bed.


Sweating for the man
with the money in his hand,
focused on his son

*     *     *

Cleaning toilets in
the White House while making plans
to take things over

Monday July 20th, 2015

The exercise:

I think it is time to revisit the First Line Prompt. Let us all use the following sentence as the opening line to our writing today, and then each of us can take it wherever our inspiration chooses to go:

We watched the police car approach, feeling well-hidden in the shadows which surrounded us.

The new strawberry patch has now been weeded twice and mulched once. I started in on the third round of weeding and second round of mulching this morning (the first three rows are already getting weedy again and pulling them is disturbing enough mulch that it needs to be redone in certain spots). Hopefully these finishing touches don't take too long.

We finally received word today on how much it's going to cost to repair our produce cooler. Let me just say that I'm currently looking into alternative solutions.


We watched the police car approach, feeling well-hidden in the shadows which surrounded us. The crunch of the tires rolling over the gravel of the driveway was the only sound as the night watched with bated breath. A southbound cooling breeze sauntered through the scene, unaware of the tension filling me and my brother's bodies.

Christopher's breathing was still shallow and steady, which was a relief. I knew I could depend on him while he remained calm. Once his emotions took over, however, all bets were off.

The car eased to a stop twenty feet from the front door of the house with its engine still running. Christopher and I exchanged silent glances but otherwise remained motionless. Eventually the driver cut the engine and the silence of the night returned swiftly.

I switched the knife from my left hand to my right and beside me Christopher did the same.

Both car doors creaked open at the same time as the cops exited the vehicle. They approached the house warily, each with one hand on his holstered weapon. I licked my lips. Christopher exhaled through his nose, a high pitched whistle that I was certain the cops would hear.

But neither of them so much as glanced in the direction of the bushes we lurked within. They just continued their deliberate advance until they had reached the door. The first officer rapped on the door as the second stepped back and drew his weapon. They remained that way for a full minute but no one answered.

Of course no one answered. My brother and I weren't inside.

At that point the cops didn't have much choice. They had to enter the house. And as soon as they did so we made our move, scurrying over to their empty, waiting car. Four slashes later the tires were flat and we were running for the highway.

Sunday July 19th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the injection.

Had a pretty mellow day off. Kat took Max to the beach to meet up with his cousin and auntie this morning and I stayed behind to... well, it turned out I caught up on a lot of comments on the blog and then had a nap. I'm not sure that was the intention, but whatever.

This afternoon Max had an hour and a half long nap, so we got a bit of cleaning done around the house and then rested some more. After dinner he decided he wanted to bring a couple of his books to Rebecca's trailer so she could read to him, and they also had a dance party in there (somehow), so that gave Kat and I some unexpected time together without him.

Back to the garden tomorrow. The new strawberry patch awaits.


"This had better be worth all the trouble."

"Oh, I can assure you: it most certainly will be."

"And this stuff is guaranteed to make me stronger?"

"My dear boy..."


"... nobody said any such thing."

"What? You promised me this would win me the competition!"

"I most certainly did not."

"Yeah, you did. Why else would I let you shove a needle in my a-?"


"Excuse me?"

"That was the only way to get you to agree to the injection. I mean, you wouldn't have volunteered if I'd told you what was actually in the needle."

"What... what's in the needle?"

"Now? Nothing! See? All empty."

"That's not... that's not what I meant... you son of a... I don't feel so good."

"Oh, I wouldn't worry about that - it will pass soon enough."

"That's... that's good..."

"Then again, so will you."

"So will I... what?"

"Pass, my boy. As in, pass away. Do I really need to explain every last little detail to you?"

Saturday July 18th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: as good as it gets. References to the movie not required, but appreciated!

As mentioned yesterday, we didn't have a huge amount of stuff to bring to today's market so it was never going to be a great one. But when the bell rang to signal the end of the market, all we had left on our table was a zucchini, a cucumber, and two onions. Oh, and some garlic - but I don't worry about that since we can keep bringing it back, week after week, until it all sells. Also: my cards, though I did sell a few.

So, really, the market was about as good as it could get.

On the way home we stopped to pick up our blueberry supply for the year. A friend of Kat's made a trip to the coast and had room in her vehicle for extra blueberries so we jumped on the opportunity. Like, all over it. Like 100 pounds of berries all over it.

They come in 10 pound boxes, ready to freeze. We've already promised a box to Kat's brother's family and to her parents, but that still leaves us with 80 pounds, 70 of which are already in the freezer. The rest is for fresh eating... but at this rate they won't last long.

Blueberry pancakes for breakfast tomorrow morning isn't even the start of blueberry everything for the next little while. That began with bowls of blueberries with coconut whipped cream this evening.


He is at his happiest
At the track, placing bets.
He still has cash when he comes home?
Well brother, that's just as good as it gets.

Friday July 17th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the repair.

We're bringing a little bit of a lot of different things to the market tomorrow. Our first nectarines (just 5 crates), Sunrise apples (2.5 crates), our first peaches (woo, half a crate...), a handful of red plums, a handful of our final variety of apricots, 8 heads of cabbage, 7 cucumbers, 9 lemon cucumbers, 4 zucchini, 3 pints of cherry tomatoes, 10 (I think) onions, and a few handfuls of freshly cleaned garlic.

The only thing we have of any real abundance is blackberries, but 36 pints doesn't seem like a huge amount after the kind of numbers we were pulling out of the strawberry patch.

Regardless, hopefully it all works together to add up to a reasonable market. It'll be nice to be back after skipping last week either way.


"Hey man, do you mind if I borrow your truck again?"

"Yours isn't still in the garage, is it?"

"Yeah, it should be ready any day now."

"But it's been almost a year now - and all it needs is a new tail light!"

Thursday July 16th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something that is: faint.

Something which is very definitely not faint for me is something that happened ten years ago today: I met Kat for the first time. I know I've said that with our wedding anniversary at the end of this month (woo, 5 years!) I didn't plan on celebrating both dates, but this one felt a little special.

I managed to sneak into town this afternoon to buy her flowers and I also wrote her a poem. Max helped pick out the flowers but did not assist with the poem.

I mulched a lot of strawberry plants this morning, and also sowed our second planting of our buckwheat cover crop in the section of the garden that we will be using next summer. If all goes well we should be able to do that one more time this season, in order to build up the soil as much as possible.

I also got Rebecca started on cleaning up the garlic, so it's good to know that is being worked on while I'm busy with other things.

Now to get my writing done before it gets to the falling asleep on the couch time of night.

Also: I'm hideously behind on replying to comments yet again. Sorry.


The markings are faint but clear - if you know what you're looking for. And I do. Obviously. Or I wouldn't have seen them, right? Right.


I don't know if anyone else has spotted them. At this point I have to assume I'm the only one. Otherwise they would have gone public already and it would be all over the news. Right?


Well, I guess the only one isn't entirely accurate. More like the only one who doesn't work for the government. Because they have to know about this. I'm just surprised this bit of evidence was allowed to slip through the cracks and into the public eye where anybody can see it.

Well, not just anybody.

So. I've seen it. I know the truth. What do I do now? What's my next move, the one that guarantees that word gets out, in a believable manner, without getting myself killed in the process? Because, you know, keeping myself alive to enjoy the aftereffects of my work is kind of important to me.

The truth, though. That's important too. People need to know. They need to see what the government has been hiding from us. A truth this big cannot remain hidden forever and now it is time for this one to be unveiled. The evidence is out there for all to see, all I have to do is point it out.

And then the whole world will know that there is something alive, something intelligent on Pluto.

And then we, as a species, can decide what we need to do about it.

Wednesday July 15th, 2015

The exercise:

Let us return to the Random CD prompt. Go find a song, as randomly as you wish, and borrow its first line as your own. Then... take it from there. Credit blah blah due blah blah blah.

Between this morning and this evening I managed to finish weeding around all of our squash plants. It was a bigger job than I'd been expecting, mostly because the plants really spread out and all of their little runners just love wrapping themselves around any and all weeds they can get a hold of. So I'm glad that's done for now.

I'll probably spend most of my time in the garden tomorrow mulching the new strawberry patch. It's possible that I'll get it finished, but I don't want to get my hopes up.


Feel by Robbie Williams

"Come on hold my hand, I want to contact the living." Yelram reached for me with a confidence I despised. Like there was no question that I would do as he wanted.

"Who is it this time?" I asked, fists buried in my pockets.

"What does it matter? You know it's always a good time!"

"Always, huh?" I could feel myself entering dangerous territory but for some reason I just couldn't shut my mouth. "Like that time in the woods when we nearly gave those two kids heart attacks?"

"Yeah, that was a blast!" Yelram cackled before realizing his hand was still empty. "What, are you going hot on me? You know the living deserve all that we give them and worse."

"No, I don't know that." It was like I was watching the conversation from outside my body. Like I had no control over what I was saying. "I think they're doing the best that they can and maybe they could even use a little bit of help from us every now and again."

"Oh, Repsac... you must be the lamest ghost in the afterlife." He shook his head slowly, his expression a mixture of disappointment and disgust. "Later, dude. I'm going to go find some ghouls with a sense of humour who are actually into haunting the living."

Tuesday July 14th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the jury.

We picked a whole lot of blackberries this morning. Seven pints for local orders, and then another 21.5 pounds for the bakery. And we didn't even finish the pick! I ran out of time, so we told Kat's mom to take the rest so she could make this year's batch of blackberry jam.

Other than that, we just had three bunches of carrots, some cucumbers and zucchini, a pint of cherry tomatoes, and a few bags of greens to harvest. Definitely a quieter week, but hopefully things will pick up again next week when nectarines and peaches are available.

In other news, construction has begun on the new house. There's a great big hole where the basement will eventually be, and they've already put in a gravel driveway. It's all very noisy stuff, which doesn't make picking the blackberries in that area a particularly peaceful experience.

But it will obviously be worth it when it's all done and Max's cousin and her parents have their own home here on the farm.


A jury of my
peers? No, thank you sir - I know
how men like me think.

*     *     *

I know they don't like
me. That's okay. I just need
them to believe me.

Monday July 13th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the first one back.

Because, even if it was only for one night, the first shower after coming back from a camping trip is pretty much the greatest thing ever.

Plus we were so busy doing a big pick Sunday morning that neither Kat nor I had time to have a shower before we left. Unfortunately we were harvesting an order for some friends who would be passing through later that day, so there really wasn't another time to do it.

Anyway. We had a lot of fun. The trip was organized by our bakery friends in honor of their son's third birthday, so there were lots of kids running around and the weather was amazingly cooperative. We got rained on once, for about ten minutes, and that was it. Considering the forecast was at one point calling for showers and possible thunderstorms, we were happy to take it.

Max had a blast, so hopefully we'll be able to find time to go for at least one more camping trip this summer.


The rules were simple: first man back to the house was the winner. That was all they told us and we were convinced that was all we needed to know.

That night we were stuffed into the back of a van. They blindfolded us and told us to keep our mouths shut, or else. Or else what? Man, I did not want to know. I already felt like I was in over my head by that point.

But there was no going back, no escape.

We drove for a long time. I could feel the left and right turns, the weight of the men on either side of me. I thought maybe I could keep track of them, find my way back that way. But then the driver steered us in a tight circle for over a minute and all hope of that route was gone.

Eventually we came to a stop. They dragged us out of the van but kept our blindfolds on. The fresh air was a relief after the nervous sweat saturating the confines of the van. They repeated their only instruction: first man back wins. I don't know about the others but I nodded my understanding.

My agreement, I suppose.

Then they told us to wait until the van left before removing our blindfolds, got back in the vehicle and took off. At least, I assume that's what they did.

Me? I had my blindfold in my hand and I was off and running before they had taken two steps. I figured, hey, if there was only one rule then there couldn't be any other rules to be broken.

And I was going to grab hold of any possible advantage over the others that I could find.

Sunday July 12th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: camping.

Sorry about the late posting, but I didn't have time to schedule anything before we had to leave for our overnight camping trip. Plus I wasn't really thinking we'd be able to go with the way the forecast was looking.

But we did! And it was fun! And after experiencing his very first overnight camping trip, Max definitely wants to do it again. Just look at him:

I think I only took two other pictures while we were gone because I totally wasn't thinking about capturing the occasion. Oh well, at least I got this one.

I'll be back later with Monday's post.


The air here is fresh,
Smelling like pines;
Birds are sing-songing,
I'm feeling fine.

Nightfall is coming,
Mosquitoes catch my scent;
If anyone needs me,
I'll be hiding in my tent.

Saturday July 11th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: things that go bump in the night.

We took a good chunk out of the work that needs to be done in the new strawberry patch this morning. Not quite as much as we'd hoped for, due to a variety of reasons (including Max sleeping in and Max wanting Kat to be with him for most of the morning and Rebecca's new puppy needing attention), but we're getting there.

This afternoon we went for lunch at the winery that Rebecca's working at, along with Kat's brother and his family. With the staff discount provided by Rebecca being at our table it was a pretty great deal for some yummy food with a lovely view.

Tomorrow is a little up in the air at the moment. If there's no post here on the blog then we've gone camping and we'll be back on Monday. If we get rained out... expect a post as usual.


It's calm and quiet now,
Time to get some sleep.
Then I hear something thump
And can't help but shriek!

Friday July 10th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: adoption.

Kat and I picked blackberries this morning, getting just over 15 pounds for the bakery. Yeah, not the market.

We're between apricots and peaches/nectarines at the moment, so it's not really worth going just for the berries and a few heads of cabbage. We may have been able to do one more market with apricots... but that would have required a mid-week pick and a working cooler to store them in.

So we're going to get some extra weeding work in tomorrow morning instead. Rebecca's boyfriend has returned for another visit and he's keen to help out, so we should have four sets of hands out there.

In other news, we had two new additions to the farm today. The first is temporary: Rebecca adopted a dog from the local SPCA, so he'll be with us until it's time for her to return to Vancouver next month. The other is much more permanent: at long last, Max's cousin and aunt have moved to Osoyoos.

It's going to be quite something watching Max and Natalie grow up together.


"I'm here to adopt a dog."

"All right, come this way and I can show you who we have available today."

"No, I don't think so... if you do that I'll end up taking them all home. So just pick one and hand him or her over, please."

Thursday July 9th, 2015

The exercise:

I'm going with a bit of an odd prompt today, compared to what I usually give you guys to work with. Write about: the wreck of the HMS Fogfinder.

I was inspired while watching a kids show with Max up at Kat's parents place this afternoon. The characters were exploring a sunken pirate ship and I wanted to do a prompt around a shipwreck. But the term 'shipwreck' was not coming to mind, at all.

So I was thinking of simply going with 'the wreck'. But I really wanted you guys to write about a sunken ship. My genius brain, instead of coming up with the term shipwreck, decided I needed to make the prompt about the wreck of a specific ship.

And... now here we are. I hope you guys have some fun with this one.

I spent most of the morning weeding the new strawberry patch, with a brief break to weed around our zucchini and potato plants. We're making good progress out there.


They say the HMS Fogfinder was doomed from the start. That the fog crept in the morning of her launch and never let her escape its embrace. That it was only a matter of time before she was smashed apart by a rock or iceberg or another ship or...

Of course, Fogfinder was not the name she was christened with. It was something along the lines of Princess Lois or Queen Charlotte or Lady Princess Fancypants. Something like that.

But her new moniker stuck like glue. They say she was cursed. There was no escaping her fate to rest silently at the bottom of the sea.

And they were right.

Divers have been seeking her wreckage for decades. Not for any grand treasure though, just for the glory of being the one to find the mysterious ship. And, in all that time, not so much as a hint of her presence has been found.

Until now.

I've found her. Me. This journal entry is the last thing I will do before strapping on my tank and going overboard. My boat is anchored a little over one hundred feet above the Fogfinder. I am absolutely sure of it. All that's left now is to go get the proof.

I better get moving. There seems to be a fog rolling in from the west...

Wednesday July 8th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about someone who is: pugnacious.

Because that's just a fun word, that's why.

I finished the last section of blackberries that needed weeding this morning, though it was somewhat more... interesting than I'd planned on. The sprinklers were on in that area but I wasn't about to let that stop me. I could have turned them off until I finished... but it was already pretty hot out. So I didn't.

Weeds got yanked, I got soaked. Kept me cool the rest of the morning while I weeded around our carrots and beets and continued the work on our new strawberry patch.

So, all good, basically.


It was Tim's first day on the job and lunch hour was looming. And he was dreading it.

Work itself was going well. He understood all the concepts, his trainer was intelligent and skilled at explaining the best way to do everything. His desk had a view. Not of much, but at least he could look up and see something besides his desk, cubicle, and the cubicles of those surrounding him.

The problem was Harry.

Tim had spotted him in the lunch room when he and his trainer were getting coffee. He knew within moments that there would be problems with Harry. His tie, the way he walked, the way he carried himself... it was inevitable.

There was going to be an argument. Likely, it would get loud. Physical? Not out of the realm of possibilities. He didn't want to, not really.

It's just that he couldn't stop himself from picking a fight with somebody... and on this particular day that somebody was going to be Harry.

Tuesday July 7th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the deserter(s).

Max was up and at 'em bright and early this morning. Kat asked me what time it was and when I said six she figured she might as well get up since she'd set her alarm for 6:15 to get an early start on the picking. About five minutes later I heard:

"It's not six - it's five!"

What can I say? My vision isn't fantastic when I wake up 3.5 hours after I fall asleep. Plus, you know, 5 and 6 are practically the same number anyway. Just look at them!

Regardless, there was no going back to bed at that point. So our harvest for local orders began shortly after 6 and was done by 11. Not what we'd planned, but it worked out.


They all say I ran
away, but I say I will
fight another day

*     *     *

Little Bo Peep has
lost her sheep... or have they all
just deserted her?

Monday July 6th, 2015

The exercise:

It's time for our monthly visit to The Colony. Sorry for the lack of heads up, I'd really meant to mention it yesterday.

I spent the morning weeding around our blackberry bushes. It's tiring work when the weeds get that big, but it's almost finished - of our three sections I only have the middle of one section remaining at this point.

Which is good, because we're going to be picking them (along with a few vegetables and raspberries) tomorrow morning for our local orders.


I guess that self-defense class I took back in university wasn't a complete waste of time after all. I mean, sure, it helped that Robbie was on my side. And that Melina was caught completely off-guard by my arrival. And the fire was a pretty good distraction as well.

But still, I was the one that took her down and kept her that way until Robbie could hogtie her. So that counts for something. I think my brothers would be proud of me.

Of course Commander Vassily was more concerned with the equipment that had been uncovered than with congratulating me on my work. And that's okay. I mean, it's understandable. We unhooked all the extra cables but I noticed he was so rattled that he didn't fully disconnect a couple boxes and I had to help him out with those.

He's mad, I can tell that much. Melina wouldn't say a word when we questioned her and Vassily said he'd take her back to his quarters to interrogate her further. I didn't like the way he said that, but what could I do? This is serious and maybe... whatever methods he's using are necessary for our survival.

That doesn't mean I have to be okay with it though.

At least I can't hear any screaming coming from down the hall. Then again, I've never heard anything coming from in there, even when I've walked past during one of his conference calls with Earth. So maybe his room is soundproofed.

I'm not sure I want to think about that right now.

It's not like I can do anything anyway. I've got to keep Robbie under control. He's so excited about his little adventure that he wants to broadcast it back to his waiting audience and we can't have that. I think our team needs to know something is amiss out here but Vassily didn't want even that much leaking out until he'd had a chance to... question Melina. Hell, he didn't want us to so much as mention it to anybody else on the crew - that's why me and Robbie are holed up in my quarters, twiddling our thumbs and driving each other crazy.

They've been in there a while now. How long should I let this go on before I at least knock?

God, this is not what I signed up for.

Sunday July 5th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the protector.

Started our day off with pancakes and bacon this morning before going to the beach to meet up with our bakery friend and his son. Had some good fun there before heading back here for lunch.

Which, if I recall correctly, was around the time that Max realized he has not been getting nearly enough sleep lately. Cue the meltdown.

Eventually we gave up and let him have a nap, which was good for all of us. Because we all slept. Of course he was still cranky when he woke up, but at least that finally passed. And he still managed to get to bed tonight at a reasonable time, so that's a win-win in my book.


The pub was quiet, but not unusually so. Not for mid-afternoon on a weekday at least. Three tables were occupied by men and women who were not looking for trouble. The stools lining the bar were empty, save for the one in the exact middle.

That particular seat was struggling to support the muscle-bound bulk of a man working his way through his fifth drink of the hour. He, too, was not looking for trouble... but he was not hiding from it either.

Was he inviting it? Perhaps.

Luke, the bartender, had already considered cutting the man off and sending him home. He could sense that no good would come from the man continuing to drown his pain at his current rate. By the time his problem drinkers (in every sense of the term) arrived the man would be a bomb ready to go off at a moment's notice.

He placed another drink in front of the man (Luke was still trying to work up the nerve to inform the man that he'd had enough for today) and lingered for a moment, polishing an imaginary spot of dirt off the bar. The man didn't even look at him before picking up drink number six.

"Rough day?" Luke ventured as compassionately as he could manage.

"You could say that."

"Want to talk about it?"

The man eyed Luke for a second, sipped his drink, returned it to the bar, opened his mouth, and then shut it again. Sighing through his nostrils, he ran a hand through his short hair and shifted his weight from one side to the other.

"No worries," Luke said, raising a hand in retreat. "I've been there bef-"

"She was my responsibility." The man kept his gaze down. His words were so quiet Luke had to hold his breath to hear him properly. "She was my responsibility and now she's gone."

Saturday July 4th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: buddies.

I've been up since Way Too Early so I'm going to keep this short.

Market went well for what we had. Sold 11 of the 14 crates of apricots we brought, all 10 pints of berries, all 10 heads of cabbage, most of the broccoli, and several (5 or 6 I think) of my cards.

Max spent a whole lot of time playing with the seven year old boy who was with his mom and grandma at the bakery stall next door to us. Thus... today's inspiration.


Running, laughing, playing,
It's truly a joy to see...
Because, to be honest,
It's not all left up to me

Friday July 3rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the breach.

So. Hot.

Anyway. Our raspberries are coming to an end (for now) and our blackberries are just starting, so it wasn't much of a harvest this morning. That meant I had time to get all of our garlic out of the garden and onto Kat's parents porch to begin their curing process.

Also, because our cooler conked out this week, we don't have a lot of storage space. We're using the extra fridge in Kat's parents house, along with our own extra fridge in our basement, for now. But that's not much to work with and the garden is overflowing with broccoli and cabbage at the moment.

And that means I get to wake up extra early tomorrow morning in order to harvest broccoli and cabbage before we head off to the market.

And that means... I should get some sleep.


They circled the building with the patience of those who knew they would find a way in, eventually. Each window and door was inspected carefully and tested for any sign of weakness. I watched them from within and I made ready, for I knew they would find entry one way or another.

I could see the dynamite sticking out of their backpacks, after all.

Thursday July 2nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: the emperor.

Spent the morning rototilling the paths in our garden, as the weeds were really starting to get out of control out there. It looks a whole lot better now but there's still quite a bit of hand weeding that needs to be done - mostly around the leeks and onions, which seem to nearly always need to be weeded.

After a brief rest I spent most of the afternoon with Max and now I'm getting caught up on various things while he sleeps and Kat and Rebecca are out in the garden.

One of those things being the comments here on the blog. Unsurprisingly.


Alexander relaxed as he eased himself onto the throne and a contented smile inched its way across his lips. He considered resting his left ankle on top of his right knee but decided against it, considering it too unstately. Instead he gazed around the empty room and thought about the coming days.

"Are you sure this is a good idea, Alex?"

Well, almost empty room.

"What are you talking about?" Alexander countered without bothering to look at his companion. "Of course it's a good idea. Why wouldn't it be?"

"Well, for starters-"

"And don't call me Alex - even when no one else is around."

"Because it sounds too unstately?"

"Exactly. You should know better, Leo."

"Well, I think it sounds just fine." Alexander didn't need to turn his head to know that the soft rustle of clothing meant that Leo had crossed his arms across his chest. "And I still think this is a bad idea."

"You're just afraid, Leo. That's why you're standing beside the throne, not sitting on it."

"Yeah, well... if Emperor Cornelius walked through those doors right now and saw his stable boy sitting on his throne, I'm pretty sure your heart would stop and you would soil yourself and your eyeballs would-"

"That's quite enough, Leo." The emperor's voice froze both of the boys in place, like inglorious statues. "I think young Alexander gets the point."

Wednesday July 1st, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: space powers.

I have no idea what you guys are going to do with that. If you're in the same boat, feel free to find some inspiration in my tale below.

July 1st is Canada Day in these parts and we actually, factually, honestly took the whole day off. This morning we took Max and Rebecca to the Canada Day Parade that runs down Main Street here in Osoyoos and they both enjoyed it. Max's highlights included bubbles, horses, firetrucks, and getting to wave one of the little Canadian flags that people were giving out.

Afterward we had a picnic at the beach before returning home. Rebecca headed off to Kelowna shortly after that, where she is surprising a friend and spending the night. Kat and I watched a little bit of the fireworks tonight from our front window.

I'm sure one day Max will stay up late enough for all of us to enjoy the full experience.


Right. The water bombers.

The action began picking up around the time Max was getting ready for bed. Kat ended up not having much luck convincing him to sleep, for various reasons, so he kept coming out on the deck where Rebecca and I were chatting and watching the planes come in and do their work.

I can't remember if it was Rebecca or I who pointed out the planes to Max. I do remember his response.

"Oh!" He jumped up, reaching skyward. "I can't reach them!"

No, young sir, you most certainly cannot.

A few more attempts at sleep later he was back out again. This time he was insisting on wearing his hat, gardening gloves, backpack, and boots. Otherwise he only had on his diaper. Why?

"I'm going to go up in the sky and get the plane and bring it down here and then put it back up again!"

I really should have taken a picture, but it was late and I didn't want to encourage him. Though, of course, he wasn't done yet.

"I need my space powers to go up in the sky and get the plane and bring it down here and then put it back up again. Can you get me my space powers?"

"I have no idea what your space powers are or what they look like," I replied, as straight-faced as I could manage. "Where are they?"

"In the living room."

I went and had a look and found nothing especially promising in the space powers category. I grabbed some Lego and hoped for the best.

"Are these your space powers?"

"Yeah!" Two second pause. "Oh, no! These aren't right."

"You're going to have to get them yourself then."


He took his boots off, went into the kitchen for a few moments, then returned carrying the magnets he had made with Rebecca a couple days previous. Apparently the magnets give him space powers(?).

We, somehow, managed to get him asleep not long after that. The planes were still safely in the sky, doing their fire fighting work without interruption.